Iris enthusiasts will converge on the Fairmont Empress Hotel next weekend for a colourful celebration of the favourite garden flower.
The American Iris Society’s national convention runs May 29 to June 3, welcoming Iris hybridizers from across North America, and as far away as Australia, England and Slovakia.
For those who want to fully participate in the convention, registration includes access to the variety of section programs, plus four host garden tours, two dinners and two lunches – “a rare and wonderful opportunity for gardeners everywhere to meet and learn from others of similar interest,” organizers say.
In addition to registered programs, there’s also plenty going on that all green thumbs can enjoy.
The BC Iris Society has planted approximately 1,600 competition iris rhizomes at Royal Roads University (Hatley Park), Finnerty Gardens at the University of Victoria, Government House Gardens and Glendale Gardens and Woodland. And on Wednesday, June 1, a simulated flower show will be set up in the Fairmont Empress’s Palm Court from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. The iris display, free to attend, will be used for judge training and experts will be available to answer questions.
Also open for the week of the convention at no cost for visitors is the Iris Boutique and Marketplace, a special retail space featuring unique floral-themed arts and crafts, set up in the former Kipling’s restaurant.
Among the more than 25 artists whose work will be for sale will be watercolouritsts Connie Furgason and Charles Dool, glass artist Wendy Pierson and painter Nirmala Greenwell. Marketplace vendors include the Calendula Horticultural Books, Rocky Mountain Soap, Artina’s Jewellery, Silk Road Tea and more.